I love it when I call my puppy and he turns his head and his ears perk up. He recognizes my voice and is waiting for me to call him or give him food. After calling his name repeatedly since my family adopted him he has come to distinguish the tone of our voices, whether we are praising him or scolding him. Similarly a new born baby can instantly recognize their mothers voice and scent. Children don’t have to see their mother in order to find them, all they have to hear is her voice. We are born knowing who is there to protect us.
Back in Bible times shepherds led a rough life. They usually lived alone and constantly moved to find better feeding land for their flocks. They had to endure the harsh weather and fight off wild animals who wished to snatch the lambs and ewes. The shepherds had to keep an eye out for all types of dangers, not just animals but also poisonous plants, rivers, thorny bushes, and rocky pathways. Although these shepherds had quite a rough time they always had a special connection with their sheep. All the sheep knew their master’s voice and they followed him wherever he went.
There is a story in Luke 15 about a lamb that wandered off. He didn’t stay with the rest of the flock and managed to stray so far that he could not hear the master’s guiding voice any longer. After roaming around for quite some time he eventually got himself stuck, whether it was in a bush or in between some rocks we don’t know but he was all alone and night was coming. As the shepherd brought the rest of the flock into the pen he counted each one and noticed that one was missing. He made sure that the rest of the flock were safe and then headed out to find the lost lamb. He searched everywhere calling constantly until he finally heard the baaing of the lamb. The shepherd picked up the scared little lamb, swung him over his shoulders, and carried him back to the pen to rejoin the rest of the sheep.
Many times we are just like that lamb. Unless we have someone to call us and guide us we get lost. In this world full of sounds, advertisements, entertainment and news constantly bombarding us it is often hard to hear God’s voice. It seems to get lost in the rest of the noise. The cool thing with God though is that He is just like the shepherd in the story. He notices when we aren’t following Him and He will do whatever it takes to find us and bring us home. He will call to us over and over until we respond. We only need to be able to recognize His voice among the rest.
“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” Isaiah 40:11